What is the 12 Step Addiction Treatment?

For those who have been admitted to a drug and alcohol treatment center, the experience can be very cathartic. In fact, most of the residents will be the first to admit that without the program, they would have continued on their path toward the downward spiral.

However, completing the program is just the first step in recovery. For most recovering patients, they have a lifetime of struggle to remain sober. That’s why one of the first questions you need to ask your counselor before stepping out of the center is “Where can I find a 12 step program near me.”

What is the 12 Step Program?

Before exploring its principles further, you need to first understand its genesis. Not many people know it but a famous psychoanalyst by the name of Carl Jung has a close connection with the origins of the 12 steps and the Alcoholics Anonymous.

This was back in the 1930s.

The founder, Bill W., was a chronic drinker. But his life was probably saved by the Oxford Society—due to the prodding of his friend Ebby T.—on the principle that only alcoholics can help other alcoholics.

If you ever wondered where the religious overtones of the 12 step program list came from, you can point most of the blame to the evangelical group Oxford Society. Today, there are many variations of this 12 step program, although the core principles remain.

You also have the 12 step program for mental illness and the 12 step program for depression, among others.

What Are the Common Causes of Alcoholism?

You talk about the drug crisis, but alcohol abuse is much more sinister. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism revealed that 88,000 lives are claimed each year, alcohol ranks third in the list of top preventable deaths in the United States.

Alcohol-related deaths only trail smoking and poor health due to bad diet and lack of physical activity. Unfortunately, alcoholism can be developed without warning.

More often than not, individuals are in denial about the true state of their alcohol abuse.  Among the more common causes of alcoholism and alcohol abuse are:

  • Mental Illness – Anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia, and low self-esteem can be very debilitating.People who suffer from these mental conditions need something to cope just so they can get out of bed and face the world for the day.If they are introduced to alcohol and find that it helps boost their confidence, this can serve as an impetus to trigger dependence.The 12 step program for addiction can help the alcohol-dependent take stock of his own situation to cut the cord that links him to the bottle.
  • Social Pressure–Peer pressure is instrumental in teens being forced to pick up a bottle.  A study revealed that half of the teenagers who are offered a drink won’t refuse because of this societal expectation. It’s this constant pressure to be considered cool that makes it very hard for teens and young adults to refrain from drinking.And alcohol is very pervasive—they can see it in the school campus, bars and pubs surrounding the school, on the way home from school, family reunions, and even social media. Pretty soon, they consider drinking as the new normal.
  • Genes – The NIAAA pointed to the established link between genetics and alcoholism, particularly on what it calls as the alcoholism gene.  In terms of the risk factor, genetics plays a very large role (50% risk factor, in fact). There are two ways on how the risk manifests itself:  First is the high tolerance level that can be passed on to the kids, which means that they drink more in order to feel the buzz. The second risk is the predisposition of being addicted.  Studying the correlation between genetics and alcohol abuse is important because it may produce a cure in the future and prevent unnecessary deaths.
  • The environment they grow up in – Back in 2011, the Roundtree Foundation ran a survey of almost 6,000 English children. In that study, they found slightly half of kids ages 15 and 16 admitted that they have experienced being drunk on more than one occasion.That same study also found that kids who saw their parents drink heavily are twice as likely to binge drink.   Some fathers also do not think anything wrong with being seen drinking by their kids, for boys especially. In fact, in some cases, it’s considered a rite of passage for the boys in the family to hang with dad in a drinking session.  They see their parents drink when they are under stress or facing a problem. The kids will see drinking as a way to cope with problems as normal behavior.

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What Are the Core Principles in the 12 Step Program List?

The 12 step program has been largely unchanged for the past several decades.

The Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups are still employing these procedures in helping countless substance use disorderrs over the years. Below are what you can expect from the 12 step program:

1. Addiction is insurmountable on your own

Human beings are naturally fallible, and they fall short of perfection. Step 1 is to admit that you are powerless to do something about your addiction problem because it’s chemical in nature. Acknowledging that there’s a higher power that can help you

2.But what can you do if you feel helpless?

Fortunately, you can turn to a more powerful being who can help you overcome your addiction.

3.Submit yourself to a higher power.

Although the 12 step program for depression and 12 step program for mental illness are typically Christian-based, you can surrender to a higher power (whether it’s Buddha, Allah, or any other omniscient beings).

4.Introspection and Rediscovery

You need to be honest with your shortcomings. This can be a very painful experience and a few individuals dropped out of the 12 step programs because they couldn’t bear, to be honest with themselves. To make it easier to remember, they need to document all their thoughts and feelings. They have to revisit family history that might be driven deep down because the truth is very ugly.

5. Admitting that you’ve made some mistakes not just to yourself but to God

The next step is to share whatever is the result of your introspection and self-discovery. If you’ve had some transgressions, this is the perfect opportunity to own up to your mistakes, so you can move forward. A mentor or a confidante will be assigned to you to help you move forward after you’ve begged forgiveness from God for your past transgressions.

6. Being receptive to allow the higher power to correct character flaws

Now that you’ve taken stock of all your feelings and thoughts, you are now better prepared to accept change. Again, you don’t do this alone since it defeats the purpose of surrendering to a higher power to help you overcome your alcohol and drug addiction. Positive affirmation is one way to counter the negative thoughts and feelings that you might have listed down under step 5.

7. Begging God to remove the character flaws

You have to check your ego at the door. This can be especially hard for people who have been independent all their lives. Being humble instead of prideful is the key toward sobriety. And being humble means they prostrate themselves before God and asking for strength to ensure they don’t stray from the straight and narrow path. If you beg God for help to surmount your alcohol dependence, then the greater the success the program will be.

 8. Writing down a letter

The participants are asked to write a letter to persons they might have hurt while inebriated. In that letter, they will try to enumerate the times they hurt that person and then ask forgiveness afterward. A second phase is to write a letter to the person who has hurt you. This can be difficult because you are asked to let go of all the negative feelings and thoughts you have toward that person. This is the only way, so you can go to the next step on a clean slate.

9. Reaching out to others you have wronged

In this step, you are not limited to just saying sorry. You need to make amends the best way you know how. If you find it difficult, you can talk to any of the veterans in the 12 step program near me or you to offer you some piece of advice.You understand that approaching somebody while the wound is still fresh can prove to be more harmful than beneficial. You need to be very smart about how to do this and your peers can provide you with the right counsel.

 10. Take more accountability for one’s actions

You have to understand that sobriety is going to be a lifetime struggle for most recovering patients. With all the lessons you learned from step 1 through 9, you are more equipped to be more accountable for your actions.

11. Improving communication with God

You need to be in constant communication with God, not just through prayers but in everyday conversations. You can do this through making a journal, meditation, going to Church, and doing good deeds as a way to pay tribute.

12. Sharing your testimony with others

Lastly, you have a responsibility to testify and share the lessons you’ve learned from following the 12 step program list.  Remember the original principle that gave rise to this treatment model—only alcoholics can help other alcoholics.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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